New fintech startup RocketOption helps founders get financing faster

By Iris Gonzalez
Matt Wilbanks

Serial entrepreneur and startup founder Matt Wilbanks has launched RocketOption, a fintech company that gives business owners a fast way to get debt financing options.

RocketOption uses your business metrics — revenue, cost of supporting the product, how fast the company is growing — and matches you with lenders interested in financing a startup.

“There is a new category of lender that have evolved from the venture capital world,” Wilbanks said. “Many don’t take equity in the startups they lend to and they provide loans based on the recurring revenue a startup is generating.”

Software as a Service or SaaS startups can generate millions in revenue but have little in tangible collateral. To address this financing need, venture lenders who issue revenue-based loans have emerged. These lenders look at a customer’s history and business metrics, looking for consistent revenue and low customer churn.

RocketOption aims to help startup founders spend less time fundraising. Instead of going lender to lender to lender spending months figuring out where you can qualify to get a revenue-based loan, users fill out a single application at RocketOption and receive a list of lender options typically within 24 hours.

Wilbanks has been mulling over how to build this fintech solution over the past two years. He spent much time fundraising for his first startup, Help Social. When he was in a TechStars accelator cohort, he remembered spending a month preparing the team’s five-minute pitch in front of an audience of investors for Demo Day.

“For founders, fundraising can easily turn into a full-time job. Everyone says you should raise money when you don’t need it but it almost never happens that way. Either you have a runway issue or you’re scaling rapidly so you need to expand the team,” Wilbanks said.

He started his career working on the lending side of the finance industry and used his knowledge to build the RocketOption platform. Last November, Wilbanks launched the website and has had some successes from early clients.

Entrepreneur Travis Davenport has spent the past two years fundraising for his brewery, Babe Kombucha. He tried RocketOption and applied for multiple lenders using the application’s single form. Once he received a list of lenders Davenport got to work. After only one week, he has received responses to date from six different lenders who are ready to work with him. Normally, it would take months to reach this point, Davenport said.

“I was able to complete the form in just 10 minutes,” he said. “Using RocketOption allows you to get a fast ‘no’ and move on to the next lender efficiently.”
Revenue comes from lenders paying fees for client referrals, acting much like a lead generation for these types of lenders.

“There’s no cost to founders using RocketOption. For founders who are looking to raise money without giving away equity, it’s a fast, easy way to get a list of lenders who are interested in working with you,” Wilbanks said.

RocketOption is a one-employee startup for now. Wilbanks has ideas how to refine the SaaS platform so that it acts much like “Expedia where you can enter your information and get immediate travel options,” he said.  As more beta testers provide feedback, Wilbanks will continue to fine-tune the backend processes as he seeks to prove the concept behind his latest startup.

“There is no question, the largest amount of time spent in fundraising for most founders is in finding the right investor or lender,” Wilbanks said. “Founders will spend months networking, applying, pitching, and dancing until they get the Yes that gets them funded.

“We aim to help founders get to ‘yes’ that much faster.”

The featured image is of RocketOption founder Matt Wilbanks, courtesy photo.

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